Foreign travel advice

Iceland

Safety and security

Crime

Petty theft and anti-social behaviour can occur, particularly around bars where people gather late at night in downtown Reykjavik. Take sensible precautions and avoid leaving valuables lying around.

Road Travel

You can drive using a valid UK or other EU/EEA driving licence. There is no need for an International Driving Permit.

Make sure you have the correct vehicle insurance cover before you arrive. Read the small print on car rental agreements and make sure you understand which damages are covered by the excess or damage waiver. Some car hire agreements limit the class of roads you are allowed to drive on. Costs for breakdown recovery, especially in remote areas, can be very high. Iceland can be affected by strong winds causing localised sand and ash storms. Though this extreme weather is infrequent, British tourists have had to pay significant sums of money to repair damage to hire cars caused by sand and ash.  

Distances between towns can be great, roads are narrow and winding, and speed limits are low. Driving takes longer than you think. Take particular care on gravel and loose surfaces. Driving conditions may be hazardous and roads impassable, especially in winter. Winter (but not studded) tyres are mandatory from around 1 November to 14 April; exact dates can vary from year to year. Keep dipped headlights on at all times. Fines for exceeding the speed limit are high.

Many highland tracks only open for a short part of the summer. If you intend to drive to the highland, or the more remote regions of the country, check with the Icelandic Road Administration (Vegagerdin) - telephone +354 522 1000 - before you leave. Vegagerdin provides up to date information on all roads in the country and will also advise you on weather conditions and off-road driving, which is strictly controlled. Beware of rapidly changing weather patterns, including river levels, which can change dramatically even within the same day.

Drink/drive laws are strictly enforced. Alcohol limits are far stricter than UK levels. Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are severe.

In 2015 there were 16 road deaths in Iceland. This equates to 4.92 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2015.

See the AA guide on driving in Iceland.

Accommodation

Hotels in Iceland are often fully booked for the summer period. If you visit on flight only tickets make sure all your accommodation has been reserved before departure. The British Embassy can’t help you find accommodation.

Hiking and adventure tourism

Hiking, mountaineering and other adventure sports are increasingly popular activities in Iceland. Unfortunately there are incidents each year of visitors getting into difficulty and needing the help of the emergency services. Follow the guidance of the Icelandic emergency services as detailed on the Safe Travel website. Leave travel plans and contact details with your hotel, or directly on the safe travel website, and take a mobile phone with you.